The Sable Quean

Place of Origin:Unknown
Weapon: Adder-venom coated dagger in a crystal sheath
Death: Shoved from behind by Ambrevina Rockflash, fell on the shards of her own poison dagger
Appears: The Sable Quean
Voice(s): Aisling Leyne

Vilaya, also known as the Sable Quean, was a tall, slim female sable and the leader of the Ravagers. She had lush, dark brown fur and gleaming, dark almond-shaped eyes; she wore a long violet cloak and a necklace of venomous adder fangs, which included a small crystal sheath filled with venom. With a swipe or even a prick of the small knife within this sheath, Vilaya could slay her enemy in a matter of moments.

On Vilaya's orders, the Ravagers kidnapped all sorts of woodlander young ones, including Dibbuns from Redwall Abbey. Her original plan was to use the little ones as a ransom, to gain control of the Abbey and the lands about it; she allowed the military Commander of the Ravagers, Zwilt the Shade, full command of this enterprise. As a fellow sable, Zwilt was one of the few creatures Vilaya allowed into her lair, Althier; the rest of her horde stayed in the Ravager camp some distance away. Though Zwilt thought that they could overcome Redwall by force rather than subterfuge, he still carried out Vilaya's orders obediently. This changed when the little ones, spurred by Vilaya's murder of the young otter Flandor, managed to escape; the arguments that ensued from this event caused a rift between the two sables, which was never repaired.

While tracking the missing Dibbuns, Zwilt murdered Vilaya's personal counselor, Dirva, whom Vilaya had sent to spy on him. By the time the outraged Vilaya caught up with Zwilt, he had the whole army on his side, ready to march to Redwall for battle. Vilaya tried to slay Zwilt, but Zwilt was faster; he sliced her side open, and she fell unconscious with the pain. Thinking Vilaya was already dead, Zwilt left Gliv behind to bury the body; once the Ravagers were gone, Gliv betrayed Zwilt and helped Vilaya regain her senses, healing the tremendous wound. The pair vowed to kill Zwilt; Vilaya for obvious reasons, and Gliv because Zwilt had ordered the death of her mate, Lugg. Gliv had stolen the Quean's tiny venomous dagger so that she wouldn't try anything tricky, but while she was helping to disguise Vilaya as an ordinary Ravager soldier, Vilaya took it back and killed her, as she didn't need Gliv's help anymore.

When Vilaya arrived at Redwall, she went to find Zwilt; however, the male sable had already managed to climb over Redwall's battlements and was out of her reach. Vilaya decided to go and take charge of her army once more in Zwilt's absence; she removed her disguise, and marched boldly in among the Ravagers. The vermin were terrified, for they were convinced that she had been slain and believed she was a ghost. After she secretly slew Zwilt's deputy, Fallug, with her dagger, Vilaya took complete charge of the army and began a new attack on the Redwallers; when Zwilt was killed inside the Abbey, Vilaya and her appointed captain Grakk continued to press the Ravagers forward. The battle came to an abrupt end when Axtel Sturnclaw and Ambrevina Rockflash came after Vilaya, killing most of the other Ravagers in their wake. Deeming it best to make a lone getaway, Vilaya quickly slew Grakk and took off as fast as she could go. She managed to outrun the wounded Axtel, but Ambrevina eventually caught up with her; the badgermaid pounced upon the sable and flattened her to the ground. Ambrevina rolled Vilaya over, planning to slay the Quean, but Vilaya was already dying; the crystal sheath that held her poison dagger had broken and pierced her chest, allowing the adder venom to escape into her bloodstream. Ambrevina left the body unburied, twisted by the poison and frozen in that shape by death.


  • "Quean" is derived to mean "a female regarded as being disreputable." "Sable" refers both to a dark color and a marten species.
  • Vilaya is the only female sable to appear in the Redwall series.
  • Vilaya has many meanings, including tireless, efficient, focused, and unpredictable.